PROVENCE FRANCE DINNER PARTY
I am feeling the lack of travel all through my bones, so I decided to throw a destination themed backyard dinner party.
The inspiration for the dinner party was a bottle of Chardonnay that I was gifted for my 40th in February - as soon as I laid eyes on it, it sparked a vision of having my best gals in my yard for a long table, French style dinner.
At that time we were in heavy lockdown, so it was this vision that got me through. The day finally arrived. And that bottle was joyfully opened!
My theme was Provence France. Why the South of France? It's a place I want to visit and won't be able to for a while, so I wanted to bring Provence to Fernie and wanted to whisk my friends away for a special treat.
And oh did I go Pinteresting away late at night pulling together the elements for the look and feel. Good lord Pinterest can be a danger place for the wallet!
Along the way on planning, a seasoned hostess like me realized, between my business, my five year old and all my decorating ideas, having to plan cook and plate the food would make this party too busy to enjoy.
I chose to hire a caterer for the food, as I'm pressed for time in general these days. Barrie, the owner of the local Fernie Catering Co., herself was in need of inspiration and naturally was suffering from wanderlust too, so she was excited to create a French feast!
The menu included Provencal Tomatoes, crostinis with fresh local veg, cheese and accoutrements. The standout for me was the Smoked Salmon topped with the mind blowing olive and hazelnut compote - Fernie Catering Co. was kind enough to share the recipe for the compote which I've included at the bottom.
If it's within your budget, consider a caterer, seriously! If you are going to go through all the effort for this, you will want to enjoy the party. Spending the whole time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning? No thanks - that’s what I do normally! Thank you Fernie Catering Co.!
Ok, full disclosure here, not everyone has a friend that is in the wine industry, I recognize I'm truly lucky on that end.
Lisa Ritchat of Dirty Laundry Winery was a guest at my party, and she did not hold back on sharing her lovely wine. Thank you Lisa!
I am normally a huge fan of Dirty Laundry Wine and when Lisa comes to town she usually brings some unreleased goodies to try which are often the party favourites.
We paired the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc with the first few bites of the spread and again, Dirty Laundry from Summerland BC for the win! You can find it in most liquor stores in the Kootenays.
Chan's Dinner Party Tips:
Make a Budget
Set out a reasonable budget for your party, but who are were kidding be prepared to go over, you are going to fall in love with a few details that you just can’t live without. Make sure you know how much wiggle room you have.
Potluck style is the best way to save on food!
Pick a Theme
While you don't need a theme to have a dinner party, it can really guide the night and the food, and create a truly memorable experience for you and your guests! Some of my most memorable past themes:
Miss “Hometown” (took extra effort)
Taj Mahal (took extra effort)
Harvest (easy for fall)
Truckstop Diner (super funny night)
Game of Thrones (for the show finale, we ate like the Lannister’s and dressed like the Starks that night!)
Plan a Playlist
Research a good playlist before hand, music is very important!
My playlist for for most of the night was the Spotify French Riveria Playlist, which really set the French mood.
Look for old windows and doors, rustic or painted. Hang them up to create dimension and aesthetic.
Most of my my table linens, goblets and candle holders were from the local thrift shops in Fernie and Cranbrook.
The long roll of fabric for the table cloth? I headed to the bargain section of Fabricland and bought the end of the roll for a clean white and the lavender pattern. Totally lucked out!
Once I had sourced what I could locally, I headed to amazon for pieces that could be used for the party, but also would be used again later.
I've included amazon affiliate links to share the specific products I got!
Just like my unbreakable patio plate set and the matching round placemats. See my affiliate links to score the same as I did.
I also purchased some LED tealights, (click here for the exact ones I got - which flicker like real flames!) which I know I will use time and time again.
Fill it out with Flowers
I asked one of the local flower shops in Fernie, The Green Petal, if they could order in some eucalyptus and Quicksand roses - don't expect with pandemic times to walk in and just get what you want.
I asked them weeks in advance so they could plan and order in for me. I picked them up the same day of the party and made my own arrangements to save money - the vases came from the thrift shop!
I splurged and ordered real dried Lavender - this I can use in my house after so it felt justified!
Lighting is Key
Ok this is huge for me in general, my store and every room in my house is curated with good mood lighting. It really makes all the difference, and to me it is a worthwhile investment.
Here are the lights I got for this party:
White String Edison Lights - I've had mine for 6 years now, I pull them out for events and carefully store them in between because they are dear to me.
Inspire with an Invitation
I made this easily on my favourite free design app, Canva, or I have used Wordswag too in the past. I also created a private Facebook group so all the guests could communicate.
Shop Chan's Table:
I was super proud of how this long table setting look turned out. If you like the look you can shop the exact items I bought via my amazon affiliate links: